Those who’ll shape Ondo polls
BY DAPO AKINREFON
THE build up to the governorship election in Ondo State has been characterised by accusations and counter-accusations from the three main political parties participating in tomorrow’s polls.
There have been exchange of allegations, name calling and mud slinging among the participants in the poll-all in the name of garnering votes to secure victory at the polls.
Akeredolu, Mimiko and Jega
It is worthy to state here that the Ondo governorship election has been tagged a three horse race with the Labour Party, Action Congress of Nigeria and Peoples Democratic Party as front runners.
The combatants, Messrs Rotimi Akeredolu, Segun Mimiko and Olusola Oke have gone to the nook and crannies of the state to sell their programmes to the people.
Aside the leading flagbearers, there are a host of gladiators within and outside the state who are expected to shape the outcome of the elections. But in the long run, the occupant of Alagbaka House will need more than a godfather to win the polls.
Being the national leader of the ACN, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been in the forefront of leading his party’s campaign in the Sunshine State.
It was gathered that the Jargaban Borgu relocated from Lagos State to Osun State to lead the campaign team of ACN flagbearer, Mr Akeredolu.
He has ensured that all political office holders in his party contribute immensely to his pet project.
With the entire South West, save Ondo State, in the firm grip of the ACN, Asiwaju Tinubu is leaving no stone unturned to extend his party’s territory in the region.
A former governor of Ondo state, Dr Olusegun Kokumo Agagu remains a force to reckon with as far as the PDP is concerned in his state.
Though, there have been alleged romance between Agagu and Tinubu to oust the Labour Party-led administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, the former has since denied such claims. He has expressed optimism that his party, the PDP, will coast home to victory when the results of the election are announced.
Agagu, a close ally of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has been working to reconcile and unify his party to win the polls.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko and his Labour Party are working assiduously to ensure they retain the state in the election. The governor was said to have been having series of meetings with some other political parties for support to scuttle the plans of ACN. Mimiko was alleged to be lobbying the PDP to drop its governorship candidate, Olusola Oke, and support the Labour Party.
In addition to the PDP bargaining, it was gathered that Mimiko has met with President Goodluck Jonathan several times negotiating the election. There were indications that Mimiko was instrumental to the delivery of bloc votes in Ondo State for President Jonathan in the April 2011 Presidential poll.
As Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, all eyes are on him especially as it relates to the gubernatorial election in the Sunshine State.
Despite the fact that he was commended for the conduct of the election in Edo State, the election in Ondo state remains a litmus test for the Bayelsa state- born President.
President Jonathan, who rounded off the PDP campaign in Ondo state, has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to conducting a free, fair and credible election in the country, which is the golden rule of democracy.
He has since warned that there would not be room for any form of violence on the day of election as all measures had been put in place to curb act inimical to free and fair election.
According to him, “the Federal Government would not allow any thug to come out on that day. If you know that your son will be used as thug, if you know that your husband will be used as a thug, tell him to go away from Ondo State because nobody will allow thuggery. It is one man one vote, one woman one vote, one youth one vote.”
It was, however, gathered that the president is not disposed to allowing the ACN gain the upper hand at the poll as this will throw spanners in the wheels of the president’s 2015 ambition.
He is the presidential coordinator of the Amnesty Programme and also an indigene of Ondo State. Mr Kingsley Kuku is another factor in the politics of Ondo State as he has been working relentlessly to ensure his party, the PDP emerges victorious at the polls.
However, he has been alleged to have imported ex-militants to the state to assist the PDP in the elections, a claim he has denied.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been silent on Ondo State but many are of the view that he can throw his weight around to ensure his party, the PDP gets the day in tomorrow’s election.
However, political pundits opine that the former war general is no longer strong in South Sest political equation owing to the perceived cold war between him and President Jonathan.